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  1. Title: Life As We Knew It
    Series: Last Survivors
    Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
    Publisher: Harcourt
    Release Date: October 1, 2006
    Source: Library

    From the Back Cover:
    It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

    My Thoughts:
    Although Life As We Knew It is about the chaotic side effects of a meteor knocking the moon into orbit much closer to the Earth don't  be too hasty to label it as "apocalypse" fiction so much as "survival" fiction. Much of the book is set inside Miranda's house as her family struggle to survive within without the 21st century resources that they are used to. Miranda only hears about the massive tsunamis and volcano eruptions and is spared from experiencing them. In Life As We Knew It you won't see an informed overview of the world falling apart so much as the very personal story of Miranda and her family's struggle against starvation and the cold. Some readers may be dissappointed at times to miss out on the big action but I really liked Pfeffer's appoach of focusing everyday survivalism and family.

    There is one thing that I think that Pfeffer does very well and that is to make me feel hungry and then to make me feel immediatel guilty about it. It really is amazing how little people know about how to survive in an emergency situation. We all like to think that we would be prepared but in reality we are so used to depending on electricty, gas, plumbing, and supermarkets to provide us with heat, running water, and food that who among us are trualy equipped to survive long term? Especially when your home environment suddenly turns so hostile.

    One of my few complaints is that sometimes, especially at the start, the writing style felt a bit much like it was listing things but it is hard to say if this was intentional as Life As We Knew It is in the format of Miranda's diary and the everyday venting of a seventeen year old girl can't be expected to always be a piece of art. I also felt like there were a few lose ends left open that I would have liked to see tied up.

    That, and I am always a bit disappointed in survival stories when they scabble for can of foods to stock up and no one makes a point of saying: "Can openers! Grab as many can openers as you can!" It's just my pet survival thing. I mean, wouldn't it just suck to starve to death despite having all that food because something happened to your only can opener?

    Also Check Out:
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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  2. 2 comments:

    1. Well, with a can, couldn't you open it by dropping it? Hmmm.

      Anyways, I like that you characterize this as more survival fiction than Apocalypse fiction. I think there's a whole lot of crossover with Life As We Knew It.

    2. mummazappa said...

      I liked this book too. I thought SBP did a great job of making the survival of everyday people fascinating. Like you, it inspired thoughts of 'what would I do' if something like this happened. More food was my thought, I didn't think about more can openers! Genius!

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